This week we saw the announcement from the elite game of its planned roadmap to Return to Play. We are now in a position to be able to share more definitive plans in terms of what this means for Community Football in Tasmania.
Returning to play in a safe, hygienic and controlled manner is paramount to the AFL. The safety and wellbeing of our participants is our number one priority. As such, our Return to Play strategy has been focused on ensuring we have the clear endorsement of State Government and public health officials at every phase of return.
Each State Government is responsible for determining what level AFL is in their State and approving when we can transition into the next stage. Formal announcements will be made by AFL Tasmania to leagues and clubs when we receive official approval to transition into each stage. It is imperative that clubs and individuals do not move ahead of the level and restrictions in place until formal approval is granted.
The current state of play:
- From 25 May, Tasmania will transition to Stage 1 on the roadmap towards easing restrictions and a return to training. Training in groups of no more than 10 people can recommence with strict protocols in place. Every club and team must adhere to the Community Football protocols for training to take place from 25 May. If you are not sure what this means for you, please speak with your league and club.
- The State Government has indicated a transition to Stage 2 from 15 June, subject to formal endorsement. This will involve extending the training group size to 20 people, although non-contact training with strict protocols continues.
- Pending further review, when the State Government moves to stage Stage 3 on 13 July and provides formal endorsement, we will provide you with further information on plans for return to competition, with hygiene and safety protocols firmly in place.
We will communicate once we have formal approval at each stage.
Our primary focus for Stage 1 is preparing to return in a safe environment and returning to training in a well prepared and educated manner. In order for this return to play to be successful and approved by State Government, it is essential that we all play our part in implanting the clear health and safety protocols across all parts of our game. Protocols and checklists for a successful return to Stage 1 training can be found here.
An important part of this return to play process is the requirement of each Club to appoint a COVID Safety Officer that is responsible for ensuring these protocols are adhered to and participants can return to a prepared and safe environment.
We also strongly recommend all participants immediately download the COVID-SAFE App, to ensure we can quickly trace and manage any outbreaks in the community. We all have an important role to play in ensuring that not only football returns, but that Australia returns safely towards a normal way of life.
We understand this announcement will raise many questions for Club officials, players, parents and volunteers. As such we have prepared a set of FAQs that hopefully address most of these for you at this time. We will continue to update these as the situation progresses. We will also be providing a suite of educational resources and COVID safety posters that can be downloaded from www.afl.com.au/clubhelp.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we look forward with cautious optimism towards returning to training as a first step.
Chief Executive Officer